Connecting the Mat to the Stage
Pratyhara deals with the present moment. Savasana, corpse pose, is a key asana that usually associates itself to Pratyhara. After an arduous routine our body craves a calming pose. Savasana allows the body to align with the mind to “take in” the practice. Specifically, the posture enables a Yogi to attune with their inner self so much that a rapid sensory adaptation envelopes the body where you can lose track of time. The relaxing (parasympathetic) nervous system calms the mind making sure to alleviate the effects of the flight or fight (sympathetic) nervous system.
A Yogi can feel so intertwined in the present moment that for an instant the five senses seem out of reach to the moment.
Personally, after transitioning to a group ohm from savasana I have experienced yoga bliss where you feed off the energy of others. There is an energy that stems from the core and shoots to the top of the head and tips of the toes. This phenomenon seems slightly neurotic and crazy right? Right? RIGHT?
Wrong. This same phenomenon has happened to me on multiple onstage occasions. From singing a high note in the last song at the end of the show, the core feeling does not seem to disseminate to thin air. There is an element that connects pratyhara to the stage: vulnerability. On the mat you can be surrounded by up to fifty sweaty bodies where physical contact is inevitable.
At first, it can be difficult to let go and trust a group of complete strangers. Strangers that can see you work through a supressed subconscious. But in a Yoga class you work as a team, feeding off of the communal energy.
Similarly, in acting you delve into bizarre circumstances you need to wrap your head around. You’re experimenting with your emotions and sharing it to a vast dark laughing or crying abyss. Although, there is something surprising about both disciplines.
They allow you to confront who you are at face value.
Vulnerability allows you to explore different spheres your mind and body can reach. There is no cost in being submissive to vulnerability because there is a reward. What is the reward? Basking in the ephemeral savasana and basking in the onstage chemistry with your cast mates, or connecting with strangers on a meta level.